Enumclaw dropping sewer rate, will not increase water cost

Public Works Director Jeff Lincoln said the sewer rate can drop 10 percent.

In separate votes, the Enumclaw City Council decreased the rate charged to the city’s sewer customers while bypassing an allowed increase in water costs.

The action on both utility rates came during the council’s Nov. 13 meeting of Nov.

When it comes to providing both sewer and water services, the Enumclaw Municipal Code spells out that rates are to be adjusted annually. The yearly fluctuation is tied to the Seattle-Tacoma Consumer Price Index.

A memo to council from Public Works Director Jeff Lincoln noted that the CPI figure is not yet available, but indications are it will be about 3 percent.

If the city imposed that additional 3 percent, the memo stated, the sewer utility’s budget would see a bump of about $120,000 next year in total revenues. That’s based on customer charges totaling about $4.1 million.

However, budget projections show the city can not only skip the allowed water increase, but also allow for a 10 percent drop in sewer rates, Lincoln’s memo concluded. Even with the reduced rate, wrote, his department can “adequately cover operation and maintenance expenses while maintaining a healthy fund balance” for 2019.

Moments earlier, the council had addressed Lincoln’s suggestion that the allowed CPI increase be waived when it comes to 2019 water rates.

If the city imposed the 3 percent hike, the water utility would see an extra $100,000 next year.

However, it appears projected revenues will balance with expenses during the coming year and that the water utility has sufficient financial reserves. So, tinkering with the existing rate is not necessary, Lincoln’s memo concluded.

The council followed Lincoln’s suggestion on both counts, dropping the sewer rate by 10 percent and keeping water rates at existing levels.

In other action during their Nov. 13 session, members of the City Council:

• were told of two promotions within the Enumclaw Police Department and one new hire.

Chief Bob Heubler reported that Tony Ryan had been elevated to the rank of commander; it was effective Nov. 1 and completed a department reorganization, Heubler said. Ryan joined the department in 2005 and was a reserve officer prior to joining the force full-time.

Tony Abel, who joined the Enumclaw department in 2008, was recently promoted to sergeant. He spent 14 years in active duty with the U.S. Army and another 19 years with the Army Reserves.

Matt Ives was introduced as the department’s newest corrections officer. He started work Nov. 1 and will attend the Corrections Officer Academy later this month.

• heard a presentation by three representatives of the King County Library System, each a staff member at the Enumclaw branch. On hand were Gretchen Nelson, who heads programs for children; Maryssa Moe, adult services; and Tandra Solvey, teen services.

• approved a request that will result in a sign welcoming motorists to the Chinook Scenic Byway as they depart Enumclaw.

The “monument sign” – fairly large and perched atop a stone base – will sit on the north side of state Route 410, just east of the Farman Street intersection.

The request came from a nonprofit group that promotes the Chinook Scenic Byway.

That stretch of pavement takes drivers through Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Mount Rainier National Park, up and over Chinook Pass and eventually to the community of Naches east of the Cascade Range.

• approved completion of a “pavement preservation” project. Kibler Avenue had been resurfaced from Gossard Place to Harding Street, an undertaking that was delayed due to a labor strike but was eventually finished to the city’s satisfaction. The work was done by Reed Truckcing, which had submitted a winning bid of a bit more than $371,000.

• heard the mayor’s reminder that Enumclaw City Hall will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 22 and 23, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

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